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Iraqis want Saddam as MP, president, lawyer says

[JURIST] Former Qatari Justice Minister Najib al-Nuaimi said Wednesday that a request has been made for Saddam Hussein [JURIST news archive] to run as a candidate in future Iraqi elections and that Hussein's defense team has been asked to examine the necessary legal steps to "present Saddam Hussein as a candidate for elections," first as a member of the National Assembly and then as president. Although he didn't specify whether or not Hussein could run in the upcoming December 15 parliamentary elections [IECI website], al-Nuaimi added that "[i]f this contradicts the legal system then president Saddam will be nominated simply as a candidate." Al-Nuaimi is one of three new foreign lawyers who recently joined Hussein's legal defense team [JURIST report], together with former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark and Jordanian lawyer Issam Ghazzawi, who were sworn in Monday. The defense team considers the ousted leader Iraq's "legitimate president." Hussein and his seven co-defendants have pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and torture carried out against Shiites following an assassination attempt against Hussein in 1982. Hussein's trial [JURIST news archive] opened on October 19 before a 40-day adjournment [JURIST report], and briefly resumed Monday but was later adjourned until December 5 [JURIST report] to permit two of Hussein's co-defendants to replace their legal counsel after their lawyers were killed [JURIST report]. The trial at the Iraqi High Criminal Court (formerly the Iraqi Special Tribunal [official website]) will most likely be postponed further [Jang report] as a result of the close proximity to the mid-December elections and fears of further disruption to the polling. Hussein could face the death penalty if convicted. AP has more.

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